Van Gogh in


  1. 16 Apr 1876 1876
     - 23 Jun 1876 1876

Vincent was employed as an assistant teachet at Mr. Stokes’s boarding school.

On 4 January 1876, Vincent heard that he had been dismissed from art dealership Goupil & Cie in Paris as of 1 April that year. Vincent decided to leave the art trade and enter the field of education. He applied for various posts in England but received few replies.

On 14 April, the day before he was to leave Paris, he received a positive response. William Port Stokes (c. 1832–1890) offered Vincent a position as an assistant teacher at his boys’ school in Ramsgate in exchange for room and board but without pay. Vincent was happy to have found a job and accepted the offer. He knew nothing about Ramsgate except that it was a seaside resort with 12,000 inhabitants.

Saying goodbye to his parents was painful for Vincent, especially on top of the change in direction from art to teaching. The weather reflected his feelings and Vincent found apt words to describe it:

“We’ve often parted from each other already, though this time there was more sorrow than before, on both sides, but courage as well, from the firmer faith in, and greater need for, blessing. And wasn’t it as though nature sympathized with us? It was so grey and rather dismal a couple of hours ago.” Read the complete letter

Ramsgate’s distinctive seaside atmosphere reminded Vincent of other coastal towns he knew, such as The Hague and Scheveningen.

Although his new job took some getting used to, Vincent enjoyed working at the boys’ school. Life there was so pleasant and carefree that it worried him:

“These are really happy days, the ones I’m spending here, day after day, and yet it’s a happiness and peacefulness that I don’t trust entirely, though one thing can lead to another.” Read the complete letter

Vincent lived in Ramsgate only briefly; in June, the boarding school where he worked moved to Isleworth, a town just outside London. And he followed.

Locations in Ramsgate

Existing, accessible

Existing, inaccessible


Made here

View of Royal Road, Ramsgate, 1876

View of Royal Road, Ramsgate, 1876

Pen and pencil on paper, 6,9 x 10,9 cm

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Stichting)

View of Royal Road, Ramsgate, 1876

View of Royal Road, Ramsgate, 1876

Pen and pencil on paper, 5,5 x 5,5 cm

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Stichting)

    Continue reading

    1. Martin Bailey

      Young Vincent: the story of Van Gogh's years in England
      London, 1990
    2. Kristine Groenhart en Willem-Jan Verlinden

      Hoe ik van Londen houd: wandelen door het Londen van Vincent van Gogh
      Amsterdam, 2013
    3. Jan Meyers

      De Jonge Vincent: jaren van vervoering en vernedering
      Amsterdam, 1989
    4. Ronald Pickvance

      English influences on Vincent Van Gogh
      London, 1974